Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gladiator sandals

I've been wanting to make gladiator sandals for some doll and decided to make them for the skater doll. After all, this type of sandals are originally supposed to have flat soles.

The first photo shows the parts required: soles, zippers and straps. The straps are made of lace treated with sealer to keep its form. The insoles are pieces of leather with one layer of cardboard underneath. The white cardboard parts shown under the insoles did not make it to the final construction as it turned out that the soles need to be flexible or you can't get the shoes on the doll's feet.

Here you can see the zippers and straps glued in place.

And here is a back view. The problem with reqular sized zippers is that they don't open far enough. With high heel shoes, it is not a problem, but with flat feet, you need to be really careful with the length of the straps.

All that was left to do was gluing the leather outer soles in place. After this experiment, I'd say that buckles would be a better choice for this kind of shoes, although they would require more work both when making the shoes and when putting them on the doll's feet or taking off.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ballerina shoes

This is one of my newest dolls in her original outfit. Her feet turned out to be almost the same size as the tall blonde doll's, but I still decided to make new shoes for her.

I still have quite a bit of orange silk left and decided to try a pair with lining. After cutting the lining with the pattern I had made, I sewed the lining and upper together (the piece on the right in the photo) and then sewed the seam behind the heel and turned the piece over (the piece on the left in the photo).

The insoles have a piece of leather with one layer of cardboard underneath. I glued the uppers in place, gluing sometimes both layers at the same time, but in more difficult places, first the lining and then the silk.

Finally, I glued the leather outer soles in place. The problem with this construction is that you need to be very careful when sewing the back seam or you'll end up with uppers that are not identical, which is what happened here. The difference is not big, but I see it and it bugs me.

So, I made another pair, this time without lining. When the seam is glued, it is much easier to make the uppers identical. The edge of the fabric was treated with Fray Stay to prevent it from fraying.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Leopard print Monster High shoes

Here is yet another pair of shoes for Monster High dolls. These are made of fabric and cardboard with little pieces of wood as heels.

I started by treating the fabric with sealer as it was cotton and not very thin. Sealer prevents the fabric from fraying, so there is no need to treat the edges in any other way. When the sealer had dried, I cut the main pieces, most of which are shown in the picture below. I also covered the heels with the treated fabric.

Next, I glued several layers of cardboard under the insoles to form the correct shape. This time, all the pieces (fabric and cardboard) were the same size as I planned to paint the parts of the edges that would remain visible. Then I glued the pieces with the ankle straps in place.

Then I cut the toe part uppers and glued them in place. I wanted something different, so I made the toe part closed this time.

I glued little pieces of leather on the bottom of the heels and cut off the excess fabric on top.

Then I glued the heels in place.

The closing mechanism for the ankle strap is simple. A bead on the other side...

...and a rubber band loop at the end of the strap.

Then I painted the parts of the sides where cardboard edges were visible and glued pieces of leather as outer soles.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another pair of platforms for Monster High dolls

I decided to use fabric on the other pair of plaster casting soles. The orange silk I used for Jessica Rabbit's platform shoes gave nice results (although it was bit hard to handle), so I decided to use it.

I started by cutting pieces of the fabric and gluing the ends to the side of the sole. This seam will remain visible, so you need to make it as neat as possible. If you botch it, all is not lost as you can always glue some additional decorations on top of it. In fact, if your original plan is to use decorations, plan ahead and place the seam where it will be covered with them.

As the fabric is not glued to the sides of the soles anywhere else, it needs to be glued to both the top and bottom of the sole. I prefer to do the top first as it is the harder part. When that is done, all you need to do is to pull the fabric tight as you glue the bottom part.

Here you can see the insoles (leather and one layer of cardboard) and the leather pieces for the bottom of the soles. The uppers shown here are otherwise similar to those in Jessica's shoes, except they are made of cardboard. In this scale, it is easiest material to handle as it is sturdy, but not too thick. Bend the cardboard to the desired shape and keep it that way while gluing the fabric to get the best result. Finally, place the uppers on the correct position on top of the insoles and glue the ends of the fabric under the insoles in the usual way, cutting off any excess and making little triangular flaps.

I got so concentrated on making the rest that I forgot to take photos. Anyway, the part that will be behind the doll's heel is also cardboard covered the same way as the uppers. This time, I glued a piece of fabric also on the inside as it will show a little even when the shoes are on the doll's feet.

The straps are made of thin rubber band and go trough little loops glued to the inside of the shoes. This way, the straps are easy to replace later, if desired.

Here are the finished shoes on the doll's feet.

One thing you need to remember with this kind of shoes is that they cannot take any moisture. The plaster casting is basically unprotected as there is only a thin layer of silk on top of it. The same goes with the uppers made of cardboard. If you want a bit better protection for the plaster castings, use material that can be glued all over them. Then the glue and the thicker material will offer some protection against moisture.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Platforms for Monster High dolls

Yet another pair that has been unfinished for a long time. This is my first experiment for using plaster casting to make soles for Monster High doll shoes.

First I made the master in two parts using balsa wood. I carved the arch before gluing the parts together. Then I carved the final shape after gluing.

As balsa is very soft, it is best to carve a close approximate first, then continue by sanding, then apply several coats of acrylic paint, and finally finish the surface by sanding. As the surface of the casting will remain hidden under leather, fabric or whatever material you're going to use to cover the soles, the surface doesn't need to be very smooth. Just make sure there are no big bumps or holes.

Here the master is covered by latex used for making the mould. At this point, the latex is already dry and there is talcum powder to make sure the surfaces won't stick together as the mould and master are separated.

I made two moulds, so I could make a pair of soles at the same time. Here the plaster has been poured into the moulds, which are supported by some pieces of cork. As you can see, the mould on the right has too much plaster in it, but that doesn't matter as long as you remove the casting as soon as the plaster is hard enough to do so and carve the extra plaster away using a sharp hobby knife.

Here are the dry castings and pieces of leather to cover them. PVA glue works best for this purpose.

When using leather, you can spread glue also on the sides of the soles as it won't seep through. If you glue the sides, there is no need to glue flaps to the bottom of the soles, but you can just cut the excess leather and the cut edges will be covered by the leather piece glued to the bottom of the sole. The leftover pieces glued to the top of the soles here ensure that the insoles will stay even when glued in place.

If you use fabric, use glue only on the ends of the piece (it is best to place the seam to the inner side of the sole, to the place where the arch ends and flat part starts, as it won't be so noticeable there) and on the flaps to be glued on top and bottom of the sole.

Here are the finished shoes. The insoles consist of two layers of cardboard and the leather insoles. When gluing the straps in place, it is very important to make sure they are loose enough, so the shoes will go to the doll's feet. Unlike cardboard and leather construction, the plaster casting soles won't give in at all and the placement and length of straps needs to be considered carefully. The bottoms of the soles are covered with pieces of leather.

I'm not very happy with this first try as I realized that black leather isn't very good material for something like this. These should be much more extravagant, something colorful or glitzy would have been better. I've got another pair of plaster casting soles waiting, so I'll need to find something better for them.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sandals for Monster High dolls

Here is another pair of shoes that's been unfinished for some time. Finally decided to make the heels and get these finished.

This first photo shows how I started. These are the cardboard and leather insoles with a small plastic ring on a piece of string that goes through the sole and is glued to the underside. This string goes between the big toe and the one beside it.

As you can see in this picture. Then I just started adding pieces of thin rubber band through the ring and around the foot.

The ends of the rubber bands are glued under the insoles.

Then I added a strip of fabric on the back, so I could glue the ends of the upmost straps inside it. With all the straps in place, I glued the leather outer soles in place.

The heels are pieces of balsa wood covered with leather.

Here are the finished shoes on Clawdeen Wolf's feet.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sandals for Jessica Rabbit

The winter slumber is hopefully over now and I'll be able to make some new things. First, however, there are old ones to finish, like these shoes.

The picture below shows the thinner insoles in the middle and thicker outsoles on the edges. All are made of several layers of cardboard glued together with PVA glue. The heels, shown on the back, are made of casting resin (more about that in an earlier blog post).

I covered the heels and the edges of the outer soles with fabric.

Then I covered the insoles with black satin. In this stage, you need to be careful not to get glue anywhere else than under the insoles. It's a lot easier to avoid glue stains than it is to remove them.

Next, I made the straps using narrow silk ribbon. The ends of the piece that keeps the five ribbons together are glued on the underside as it looks better. In this scale and with thin silk ribbon, there won't be too much bulging even with three layers of ribbon.

With all the straps in place, I glued the inner and outer soles together and added the buckles. The buckles are small plastic decorations I painted with gold color. The last stage was to add leather outer soles and taps (little pieces at the bottom of the heels).

Finally, here are the finished shoes on the doll's feet.